Christmas Recipes: How to Cook a Ham?

While the Grinch cuts the roast beast, many families across the United States carve the Christmas ham to mark the end of the festive day.

One of the most popular ham selections is a city ham, which is pre-cooked and cut in spiral slices. While the ham is technically ready to be served without guests falling ill from bacteria, there are a couple of additions a chef can make that will make guests want to pig out.

Honey-Glazed Ham

One of the most popular ham dishes on Christmas is a honey-glazed ham. While it may taste like the famous honey baked hams, All Recipes said the simple recipe is created for much less.

Ingredients:

  • 1 5-lb. ready-to-eat ham
  • ¼ cup whole cloves
  • ¼ cup dark corn syrup
  • 2 cups honey
  • 2/3 cup butter

While the oven is preheating to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, score the ham and stud it with the whole cloves. Then, place the ham in a foil-lined pan.

Combine the corn syrup, honey and butter in the top half of a double boiler and heat. Brush the glaze over the ham and bake it for 75 minutes. Every 10 to 15 minutes, baste the ham with the honey glaze.

During the last four or five minutes of baking, turn the oven to broil to caramelize the glaze.

Pineapple-Glazed Ham

To make a pineapple-glazed ham to Bon Appétit's standards it needs attention and time but the restaurant-quality dish doesn't require a professional chef's skills.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pineapple, peeled, sliced into rings
  • 1 large orange, sliced into thick rounds
  • 1 10-lb. cured smoked bone-in ham or a 6-lb. cured boneless ham
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup hot sauce
  • Maraschino cherries

First, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven preheats, stack enough sheets of aluminum foil to cover the ham on a work surface and arrange pineapple and orange slices in a single layer. Set the ham on the fruit base and wrap the foil around the entire ham tightly.

Place a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet and place the ham on top of the wire rack. Bake until the thermometer registers at 115 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the ham. Cook times will likely range between three and four hours.

how to cook a christmas ham
The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit on November 30, 2011, in New York City. For Christmas, many people cook ham for dinner and there are several ways a chef can glaze the pork for added flavor. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

While the ham is cooking, combine pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar and hot sauce in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. This will be the glaze. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. Turn the heat down, just enough to keep the sauce warm, while waiting for the ham to finish cooking.

When the ham is ready to come out of the oven, increase the temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, unwrap the foil so it covers the baking sheet and baste ham with warm glaze. Bake the ham for an additional 12-15 minutes, brushing the ham with glaze every three minutes or so.

While the ham rests for 30-60 minutes, roast fruit until they're deeply browned, which will take about 20-25 minutes. The presentation is part of the battle, so serve the ham on a platter with the fruit and Maraschino cherries.

Apricot-Rum Glazed Ham

Enjoying Christmas ham doesn't have to come with a guilt-ridden trip to the gym the next morning. Skinnytaste's Apricot-Rum Glazed Ham has only 145 calories per three-ounce serving, which is about the size of a deck of playing cards.

Ingredients:

  • 1 6 to 8 pound Hickory smoked fully cooked spiral cut ham
  • 3 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum

Place ham on a rack in a roasting pan with 1 cup of water and bake for one hour on the lower rack of an oven that's been preheated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small saucepan, combine the preserves and the rum and cook over medium heat. Whisk the mixture until it gets bubbly, which should be about five to eight minutes.

After cooking for an hour, remove the ham from the oven and brush it with the glaze. Then, return the ham to the oven and cook for another 50 to 60 minutes.

If a ham doesn't come out picture-perfect, don't stress. As is with all holidays and family get-togethers, the important part isn't what's being served, it's who's around the table.